Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 12, 2020 (RSCNPF): Keeping the communities of St. Kitts and Nevis safe is no easy task as any member of the Tactical Units of The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force might tell you.
The men and women who comprise the Special Services Unit (SSU), K9 Unit, Anti-Gang Task Force, Drug Squad, and Task Force in Nevis work lengthy shifts to provide foot and mobile patrols around the clock. Together, these groups are referred to as the tactical units which means that they have received specialised training in areas such as K9 handling, hostage situations, explosives, executing warrants and negotiations. It is a physically demanding job which requires dedication, team work and a strong work ethic.
Last year, these units were able to carry out just over 17,000 stop and search exercises throughout the federation. Additionally, they conducted more than 12,000 search operations on abandoned properties, empty lots and vehicles. The officers managed to execute over 4,000 vehicle check points and hundreds of search warrants. These officers were instrumental in the seizure of large quantities of illegal substances, illegal firearms and ammunition. Through intelligence-led operations, they were also able to foil several criminal activities. The consistency of their patrols help to keep the federation’s streets safe.
Though modestly staffed, the units are divided among the three districts with the SSU, K9 Unit and Drug Squad operating in District ‘A’, while the Anti-Gang Task Force and Task Force operate in Districts ‘B’ and ‘C’ respectively. The role of the tactical units are mainly to respond to high risk situations or any incident beyond the scope of the standard patrol responders. They will also assist front line patrol officers by adding to their resources. They are always prepared to address any threat to public order or internal security. These officers have some of the same responsibilities as other police officers, but added to their list of duties are providing security for dignitaries and other high-ranking officials, as well as crowd management to name a few. The units are supported by members of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force and the St. Kitts and Nevis Customs and Excise Department.
As a result of the overall crime fighting initiatives undertaken in 2019 by the Police, there was a 28 percent reduction in crimes committed and some 47 illegal firearms were taken into Police custody. Two illegal firearms have already been removed from the streets of St. Kitts and Nevis for the year so far.